Psychology vs. The Bible?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by thisnumbersdisconnected, Dec 10, 2013.

?

If having spiritual/emotional difficulties, I would ...

Poll closed Dec 24, 2013.
  1. ... only choose a counselor of a psychological discipline

    7.7%
  2. ... only choose a counselor of a biblical discipline

    23.1%
  3. ... choose a counselor of psychological discipline using Christian approach

    69.2%
  4. ... not go to a counselor of any kind (please explain)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. No Opinion

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. thisnumbersdisconnected

    thisnumbersdisconnected
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    A recent thread that didn't last very long brought some interesting responses, particularly from one man on the board whom I greatly respect. He said, essentially, that choosing a counselor with a psychology background would be the "wrong" choice for himself, while the biblically based counselor would be the "right" choice. Being an addictions and marriage and family counselor, I of course found this interesting, since my education and discipline is behavioral psychology.

    So I wanted to revisit the subject, if that's OK. What do you think? Is there something inherently wrong about choosing psychologically based counseling, whether the counselor is approaching from a Christian worldview or not, vs. choosing a counselor who is church-based and biblically oriented? Or is there something wrong with going to a counselor of any kind? I'll be interested to see your comments. Thanks :thumbsup:
     
    #1 thisnumbersdisconnected, Dec 10, 2013
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  2. annsni

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    I want both. I'm in the throws of this with a couple at church and let me say, a counselor isn't always enough. We have contacted a Christian psychologist who will be helping us because the damage is so deep that it is beyond our ability and the ability of our counseling staff.

    Man, thisnumber, I wish I could pick your brain and had you here on Long Island!! We need help. :(
     
  3. Revmitchell

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    Christians have no business going to just a strictly secular counselor. There is a spiritual element to everything in our lives. And the Bible needs to always be a part of any type of counseling we do. Some strictly secular counselors can be dangerous to the spiritual walk of Christians.
     
  4. sag38

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    On of the best books I ever read was Happiness is a Choice, A Manual on the Symptoms, Causes, and Cures of Depression by Frank Minirth, M.D. and Paul Meier, M.D. Both are godly men trained in psychiatry. As a young adult going through an extended time of depression due a break up with a young woman I thought I was going to marry this book was huge help. It helped me to snap out of my self induced malaise. As a pastor I still recommend this book to help people who are facing depression and I generally refer them to a licensed Christian counselor. When my preteen son was having some emotional issues a pastor friend of mine who is also a licensed marriage and family counselor helped him out tremendously. His training and godly influence on my son was a blessing.
     
  5. thisnumbersdisconnected

    thisnumbersdisconnected
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    AMEN, Rev! I found it necessary to regurgitate the Pablum they were feeding me so I could get the grades required to be able to take the tests, be supervised and get the licenses I wanted, in order to practice with godly and biblical influence, opening myself up to the Holy Spirit so He could speak through me to my clients. Sure there are times when I'm harsh or ironic with clients, particularly on the addictions side, because sometimes that's the only way to reach them. But I do so in as loving a way as possible, softening the verbal blow with questions or statements that show the intent behind the words. There were times when Jesus, Peter and Paul were ironic, even bordering close to sarcasm, in order to get a point across, only to follow that up with statements reassuring their readers of the love they have for them and the desire for them to understand.

    No Christian should try to get help from someone who doesn't understand where he/she is coming from spiritually. So many behavioralists (sad to say, given it is my discipline) seem to think the power to change is contained entirely within. I worked under a clinical supervisor like this. She was an angry, bitter woman who felt her bad experience with a legalistic church as a young woman entitled her to disparage all Christians. She was difficult to work for, but she couldn't argue with "my" results, even though she wouldn't accept my protestations that they weren't really "mine."
     
  6. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Have you read ML-J book "Spiritual Depression--Its causes & cure) ?
     
  7. annsni

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    No I haven't. I'm looking to see if I can get it on my Kindle.
     
  8. Amy.G

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    I've heard that is an awesome book. I should get it.
     
  9. Luke2427

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    How consistent do you apply this rigid standard (Christians have NO BUSINESS going to...)

    Do you apply it to brain surgeons?

    God made our brains. Would you say, "My son has NO BUSINESS going to secular brain surgeon even if he is the only one in the country who will treat this malady and save my son's life?"

    God made all food and we are to glorify God in everything we eat and drink.

    Would you say, "Christians have NO BUSINESS going to a secular restaurant to eat!"

    What about secular music? No business there? No country music right? Because God made music and Christians have NO BUSINESS listening to any secular music, right?

    NO BUSINESS!!

    NO BUSINESS!!!


    NO BUSINESS!!!!

    None.

    No business!

    None.

    I love when people say, "Christians have NO BUSINESS doing ______________ (whatever)" when they have NO BIBLE for it.

    NO BIBLE!

    NO BIBLE!!!


    NO BIBLE!!!!
     
  10. annsni

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    The issue is very different between a brain surgeon and a psychologist. When we approach emotions, spiritual issues and the like, we MUST deal with them from a Christian perspective because otherwise we lose quite a bit. So when a psychologist is addressing a person who was sexually abused, he is going to deal with it differently (certainly not dealing with the sin of the offender) than a Christian would. Their "cure" is not Christ. That's a foundational difference.
     
  11. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
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    EXACTLY!:thumbs:
     
  12. Iconoclast

    Iconoclast
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    :thumbs::applause::thumbs:

    3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.


    1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

    2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

    3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

    4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.

    The secular deal from an evolutionary mindset,and cannot offer what a trained scriptural believer can offer. In mental health there are special issues and conditions that need some training about their afflictions......autism...aspergerers, bi polar....forms of depression. That being said.....most of the solutions are found biblically...those not requiring medication at least.
     
    #12 Iconoclast, Dec 11, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 11, 2013
  13. preacher4truth

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    Then we have the mix of 'christian author and psychologist' being propagated in the kingdom. Focus on the Family for instance. June Hunt. Others. This psychology has deeply infiltrated the church as can be seen in local Christian book stores and can be heard on Christian broadcasting. Much of its focus seems to center on how highly valuable people are, on getting what they want, and we wonder why they become 'lovers of self'. This happens when we have a hybrid of Scripture and psychology.
     
  14. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    What I hear, on the rare occasion I catch one of these programs, is very much the same thing I espouse: Christ is at the center, Christ created the mind, and while our art of psychology can help us understand the afflictions of the mind, our resolution comes in Him.

    Can you give examples of what you've heard in the vein you describe?
     
  15. michael-acts17:11

    michael-acts17:11
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    Depression & mental illness are not always rooted in spiritual causes. Postpartum depression, brain trauma, medications, genetic chemical imbalances, & other physiological causes of depression should be treated as such; not as demonic attacks or wrong spiritual thinking. The average pastor/counselor is not only ill-equipped to handle these situations, but will oftentimes make the situation worse by laying personal guilt for the problem on top of the depression.

    It is dangerous to seek help for mental heath issues from untrained Christian counselors. Just because someone has been to four years of seminary, that does not make them an instant expert in diagnosing & curing disorders of the brain. If someone is living in sin, then that is right up there alley. But keep them away from those who need real help for mental issues.

    BTW, the only time I have experienced true depression was while taking a prescription medication for an entirely unrelated issue. After a few weeks of being on the med, I realized that I was just sitting in my chair all day with no desire or motivation to do anything. It felt like I was dragging huge chains around all day. I had the sense that everything was futile, what was the point? I black cloud hung over me. This change happened gradually, so I didn't notice how bad it was till it had a firm hold of my mental/emotional state. I quit taking the medication & within two weeks was back to my normal self. Was this a demonic attack? NO. Was it caused by sin? NO. Did I need to pray more to be healed? NO. Had I sought the advice of a preacher/counselor, could he have helped? NO. Could a trained psychologist or physician have figured out the problem? YES.
     
  16. Revmitchell

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    There is a false premise here in that in order to add spiritual counseling you must go the route of demonic attack. This is false and not based on reality.


    Another false statement based a lack of any real knowledge about the situation. This is not what pastors do.

    The Bible has great counsel on dealing with emotions and thoughts regardless of the cause. And pastoral counseling in concert with a Psychiatrist is appropriate. There is always a spiritual element in the lives of Christian problems.
     
  17. michael-acts17:11

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    Psychology is the study of the mind. Saying that Christianity & psychology are at odds is like saying that science & Scripture are at odds. They are not. True science does not contradict Scripture & psychology does not contradict Christianity. There may be psychologists & scientists whose beliefs are outside the lines of observable science & psychology, but that does not make those areas of study inherently evil. God has given us medical science advancements for our benefit. This includes the area of mental/emotional health.

    Christian men have returned from war with brain injuries which changed their personalities or, like turrets, has loosed the vulgarity of their tongues against their will. Should we just send these men to untrained preachers who will just pile further guilt on them for not being spiritual enough to overcome their mental issues? I think not. Then let's stop deceiving ourselves into believing that every other form of mental illness can be cured with one-on-one preaching.
     
  18. michael-acts17:11

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    I never said that spiritual counselling had to go the route of demonic attack, but that is the mindset of preachers/counselors who think all mental health issues are based in spiritual warfare, & that they have no need of psychological training. I would go to a properly trained Christian psychologist who understands the complexities of the human brain & psyche.

    Have witnessed it, seen the results, & corrected two pastors for their destructive incompetence. Such pastors can be identified by their legalistic, guilt-inducing preaching. They are one-trick ponies who can only "preach" against sin as the solution to every problem.

    I completely agree with your last statement, except that there is not always a spiritual element involved. Brain damage, wrong medications(experienced it), chemical imbalances from child birth(wife experienced it), etc. have nothing to do with the person's spiritual state.

    Question: what do you mean by spiritual element?
    Not right with God?
    Demonic attack?
    Not reading the Bible/praying enough?
    Not in church often enough?
     
  19. Revmitchell

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    I do not know who these are but I have never run into one. They are few and far between and not really a factor in reality. I come across a couple who are not pastors on this board who think that way but they are out in left field.

    That would be the best thing.

    Maybe so but you really broad brushed all pastors with that. Not fair nor is is accurate.

    I disagree as we are children of God.

    I disagree, even physical issues affect our spiritual condition.

    Spiritual element is not meant to apply guilt because physical chemical imbalances and such are not cause by being a poor Christian, but that does not illuminate how it affects everything else. It may be a physical issue but those can cause us to lose our peace, patience, etc and in the midst of that we need to rely on God to walk through our physical ailments. God used a physical issue to deal with a spiritual issue in Paul's life.
     
  20. Luke2427

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    God is no less the Lord of the body than he is of the mind.

    If it is ok for unconverted but skilled people to apply their talents in treating the one, I see no reason why they cannot apply their talents to the other.

    Either way the Christian is obligated to filter them through the Bible.

    If the non-Christian physical doctor prescribes sex orgies to treat a physical malady the Christian is going to say, "No, thank you. The Bible forbids such."

    If the non-Christian psychologist prescribes some unbiblical treatment the Christian is no less able to say, "No."

    Either way, the Bible is the rule.

    Some Christian psychologists are idiot fundamentalists who mess people up badly and some non-Christian psychologists are very wise people who help Christians deal with things (like Survivor's Guilt) wonderfully.

    There is NO BIBLE standard against using the talents of non-Christian anything so long as EVERYTHING is filtered through the Word of God.
     

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